A gamekeeper in the Highlands was killed after his quad bike flipped over and crushed him, an inquiry has found.
David Taylor, 27, was employed as a gamekeeper by Kinrara Estate Partnership in the Highlands, at its Muckrach Estate, when the accident occurred.
He was considered “more than competent” on a quad bike, as he used the vehicle to travel over the terrain of the estate – moreover, he was understood to have become more cautious since the birth of his son.
On August 18, 2020, Mr Taylor had come home for lunch and returned to work about 2pm, telling his fiancée that he would be back at around 5pm for his dinner.
He spoke on the phone with a co-worker from around 2.04pm to 2.14pm, is the last time at which he is known to have been alive.
By 4pm, it had started to pour down with rain, and his fiancée, Christina McInnes, messaged him multiple times, expecting him to come home soon.
She became increasingly worried after, by 5.25pm, she had not heard from him – nor had anyone else on the estate.
At around 5.35pm, Ms McInnes went in search of Mr Taylor and quickly discovered his overturned quad bike – he was trapped beneath the heavy vehicle.
She called an ambulance at 5.41 pm, and attempted to move the bike off but it was too heavy.
Two fire engines, two ambulances and an air ambulance attended, as did the police, but Mr Taylor had already died.
A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into his death concluded that, despite a full inspection of the crash site and the quad bike, there was no evidence to suggest why it occurred.
Sheriff Gary Aitken wrote: “It is very clear from the evidence presented to the inquiry what happened which resulted in Mr Taylor’s untimely death. The quad bike he was riding overturned with tragic, fatal results.
“However, as the accident was, understandably, unwitnessed there is no evidence as to why the accident happened. It is neither helpful nor permissible for me to engage in speculation as to the cause of the accident.”
He added that, since the cause of the accident could not be determined despite “significant efforts” by investigators, “it is not possible to establish and reasonable precautions or to make recommendations for the future”.
The Sheriff concluded by paying his condolences to Mr Taylor’s family and fiends, writing: “He was clearly a very conscientious, competent and talented young family man who was very well regarded and respected by his employers.
“His death is a tragedy which is no doubt still very keenly felt.”